The MSU Museum, home of the Great Lakes Quilt Center, has more than 500 well documented historical and ethnographic quilts universally rich in diversity and expression.
Twenty-four quilts are featured in this exhibition: 12 from the MSU Museum collections and another 12 new reproduction quilts based on originals–and also included in the recent book, Great Lakes, Great Quilts: Quilts from the MSU Museum Collections (Lafayette, CA: C&T Publishing, 2001). The quilts range in date from the mid-19th Century to the 1980s and include examples from the Michigan African-American Quilt Collection and the North American Indian and Native Hawaiian Quilt Collection.
Quilters have long used quilts created by their forebears as sources of inspiration for designs and as textbooks for learning about techniques, fabrics, and styles. Quilts Old and New: Reproductions From the Great Lakes Quilt Center, showcases new quilts that both reproduce and draw inspiration from quilts in the MSU Museum/Great Lakes Quilt Center collection. The reproduction quilts will be shown side by side with the original quilts that inspired them. Meanwhile, workshops and programs blend traditions and techniques to show how these masterworks can be reproduced.
The quilts featured in this exhibit were published, along with patterns and how-to instructions, in Great Lakes, Great Quilts: Quilts from the MSU Museum Collections. At the same time, two lines of fabric were also developed in partnership with RJR Fashion Fabrics as reproductions or close variations of fabrics found in the MSU Museum collections.
The first fabric line, Great Lakes, Great Quilts: Quilt Fabric Reproductions from the Michigan State University Museum was released in 2001 and is drawn from several quilts in the collection.
The second, Trip Around the World: Reproductions from the Michigan State University Museum, released in 2002, showcases the fabrics used by Laura May Clarke of Detroit, Michigan, in her 1932 “Trip Around the World” quilt.